The Southside — the Daiquiri you have when you just have to have gin

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Southside

  • 60ml Broker’s Gin
  • 30ml lime juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • 4-6 mint leaves

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a mint leaf.

Gin, lime, sugar, and mint.  Served up. That’s how you’ll often find the Southside made, but it’s not the only way to make it.

As is often the way, pinning down a classic cocktail’s origin can be difficult, and so it is with the Southside. 

One of the earliest specs for the Southside is in Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book, Recipes for Mixed Drinks. His recipe is for a South Side Fizz, and he describes it as “made the same as Gin Fizz [sic], adding fresh mint leaves.” Ensslin calls for gin, equal parts lemon and lime juice, mint, and powdered sugar, shaken with ice and strained into a Fizz glass before being topped with soda.

Does that sound familiar? It’s pretty much a Gin Mojito, and it’s a spec that we’ve covered in these pages back in 2011. In that piece, Simon McGoram recounted two versions of the origin story: one, that the Southside was a Chicago gangster-era drink and a means of disguising shoddy gin during the Prohibition years; and two, that the recipe was created at the 21 Club in New York — the problem with this story, though, is that Ensslin’s spec pre-dates the 1929 opening of the 21 Club.

Which isn’t to say the drink came up on Chicago’s Southside — in fact it may be from another Southside, that of Long Beach. In 1941, Town & Country described Long Island’s Southside Sportsmen’s Club as serving a drink by the name of Southside that was a “Tom Collins with mint [that] is cooling in warm weather.” The club itself dates from the 1870’s.

As for how the drink ditched the soda and started to be served up? According to Al Sotack writing for Vice, that might be Milk & Honey’s Sasha Petraske’s influence. The influential bartender was known to like a Daiquiri or two.